Liberty of London Part I

In 1993 I took my first trip to London. I knew I wanted to visit the Liberty store and look at the beautiful Liberty prints. Pre-internet traveling days were full of surprises, good and bad, and this surprise was wonderful.  I stayed in the store for six hours. My husband was in a meeting and I opted out of the spouses’ tours offered that day.

The store captivated me from the moment I entered. I perused the Liberty fabric gifts on the first floor and somewhere along the way watched a bride being fitted in her gown. When I entered the mezzanine and saw the quilts hanging over the balconies on the 3rd and 4th floors I almost started to cry because I felt I had finally arrived at the place I was meant to be. I had never quilted before in my life but everything just felt right.

While others were taking photos of Buckingham Palace I was taking pictures of fabric, quilts and enchanting displays created throughout the store. It was sheer heaven.

I returned to London a year later and set aside an entire day to spend at Liberty. I bought gifts in Liberty prints, Liberty cotton lawn to smock dresses for my daughters and then I bought this silk.

                                                                 I still have it.

A Japanese designer named Ciao, who occupied floor space at the store saw me fondling this beautiful French silk. Before I knew it, he had sketched a drawing of me in a dress made of the fabric. It was an easy sell for Ciao. I could have bought a dress at Neiman Marcus for the price of this silk, and I’ve been afraid to touch it for 17 years. He gave me the sketch.

This year, hopefully this fall, I plan to sew my silk.  My husband and I are going to Palm Springs at the end of the month to the same meeting held in London many years ago.  I’d like to make something for one of the events from the fabric, and am thinking about the ruffled top I just made. I wish Ciao was here…..

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8 Responses to Liberty of London Part I

  1. sewingaddict says:

    Ah, thanks for the walk down memory lane. I, too, have spent many happy hours in Liberty’s. I did my graduate work in England and loved, loved, loved Liberty’s (though as a graduate student I rarely had the funds to actually purchase anything!). I look forward to seeing whatever you create out of that beautiful silk!

    • Lucky you studying in London!
      My last trip to London was 3 years ago and the changes in the Liberty store were disappointing. The fabric department had shrunk by at least 50% , though it looked like more. No quilts or dressmakers or French silk. I still love the store but think the changes were a mistake. Another post on this some time. Thanks for writing.

  2. Beth says:

    I have every confidence – can’t wait to see what you do!

  3. prttynpnk says:

    Wow- what a neat story and a beautiful piece of fabric- any pattern ideas in mind? I can’t wait to see more!

  4. Valerie says:

    I adore the Liberty store too. It’s an experience. would you consider showing us the sketch?

    • My sketch is packed away somewhere. We moved nine years ago into a house without a sewing room, though I have one now. I thought about going to the garage and trying to find it for the post. I’ll look for it this weekend and will certainly put it on the blog if I find it!

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